News from the Tennessee Valley Sports



TUSCALOOSA — According to the police report from his Sunday arrest, cornerback Simeon Castille worried that the incident would affect his NFL draft status. A senior, Castille is ranked No. 79 among players who likely will be in the 2008 draft.

With the new code of conduct in the NFL, character has become more important to those who scout collegiate talent.

Titans cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended for the 2007 NFL season for an incident in a Las Vegas night club. On Monday, Falcons cornerback Michael Vick agreed to a plea deal for federal dog fighting charges. He future in the NFL is unknown.

But Alabama coach Nick Saban said he would recommend Castille to any NFL team.

“Everybody is going to look at the incident and determine how bad the incident was,” Saban said. “It’s not OK to get arrested for disorderly conduct, but there are degrees of things. ... I think people should look at what he’s done good relative to this incident and try to create proper balance with really the kind of character he has and who he is.”

  • Quarterback John Parker Wilson has a unique perspective on Simeon Castille’s situation. Wilson was charged with driving under the influence in fall 2005. But when asked about his situation and comparing it to Castille’s, Wilson declined to comment.

    “I can’t talk about anything legally,” Wilson said. “My situation didn’t have anything to do with this at all. We have a week and a half before the season starts. I’m not going to say anything about anything that happened.”

  • Since he wears a black non-contact jersey during practice, Wilson is a lucky guy. At least that’s what he said Tuesday.

    Wilson lauded the play of freshman linebacker Rolando McClain, a Decatur High graduate, saying that he was happy he didn’t have to chance contact with the 6-foot-4, 255-pound McClain.

    “If he could, it would hurt pretty bad,” Wilson said. “From what I have seen, he is pretty good. He is making an impact. He is a good player.”

  • Place-kicker Jamie Christensen, defensive tackle Brian Motley and offensive lineman Cody Davis wore black non-contact jerseys Tuesday.

    Christensen has a strained quadriceps. Motley had surgery on his hand, but will be back later this week, and Davis is rehabilitating a shoulder injury.

    With classes starting Wednesday, Saban wanted his team to start getting acclimated to its in-season schedule. Alabama will begin preparing for practice Wednesday at 2 p.m., with workouts beginning at 3:30 p.m.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — Mike Berry always has been the versatile player on the Auburn offensive line, competing for various positions during preseason practice. But finally he has found a home at right guard.

    “I’m finally able to focus on one position,” the redshirt freshman said. “So it’s helping me out as far as getting everything done.”

    At 6-foot-3, 314 pounds, Berry has all but solidified a starting spot on the line, where no role is solidified entirely. But he had been playing at several positions during preseason practice, including right tackle and left guard.

    Senior Leon Hart was the frontrunner at right guard. He held the starting position coming out of spring practice, but suffered an ankle injury last week.

    That’s when Berry began practicing at the position.

    “I’m starting to feel at home with it,” he said.

    Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said an MRI on Hart’s ankle revealed a worse result than first expected. Berry suffered a shoulder bruise during Friday night’s scrimmage, but he was back at practice Sunday playing with the starting group.

    “As for now, he’s the starting right guard,” offensive line coach Hugh Nall said.

  • Receiver Montez Billings returned to practice Tuesday after missing time with a hamstring injury. Billings is one of about eight wide-outs competing to make receivers coach Greg Knox’s six-man playing rotation.

    Running back Marion Fannin, who Tuberville said could receive starting time this season, did not practice Tuesday because of a groin injury. Fannin, also one of the team’s two starting kickoff returners, has been playing through a tight groin for the last week. Tuberville said he will “probably be ready by Thursday.”

    The status to other injured players has not changed: Receiver Tim Hawthorne (ankle), linebacker Bo Harris (bruised shoulder) and offensive guard Hart (ankle).

    Tuberville said after practice that he hopes Hart will return Sunday.

  • Tuberville told reporters following Tuesday morning’s practice that lineman signee Nick Fairley failed to gain eligibility by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

    Fairley plans to enroll at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi.

    “He’s had a tough summer, him and his parents,” Tuberville said. “He came pretty close. He’ll go there and play, and we’ll hopefully see him in a few years.”

    Fairley is the last of the 2007 Auburn signing class finally to resolve the matter of eligibility. Ryan Williams and Chris Slaughter were cleared, while Eltoro Freeman, Enrique Davis and now Fairley were rejected.

  • Tuberville announced after Tuesday’s practice that the team will hold a 60- or 70-play scrimmage Wednesday afternoon.

    “It’s going to be a game situation,” he said.

    The Tigers already have had two preseason scrimmages, but this will be the first scrimmage where most of the starting lineup is solidified.

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily Sports Writer


    TULSA, Okla. — Former Arkansas receiver Andrew Norman enrolled at Tulsa on Tuesday, rejoining his former high school and college coach.

    Norman caught 63 passes for 1,189 yards and 11 touchdowns on the Springdale High School team that won the Arkansas state title in 2005 under coach Gus Malzahn.

    Norman then followed Malzahn when he became the Razorbacks’ offensive coordinator last year, and again when he took the same position at Tulsa this season.

    Norman did not play in a game for Arkansas last season as a freshman.


    CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Orange Bowl hosted a dozen games that decided college football’s national championship, five Super Bowls and a speech by John F. Kennedy.

    Miami football called it home for seven decades — but after this year, no more.

    The Hurricanes will play at Dolphin Stadium starting in 2008, leaving the historic but decaying Orange Bowl in what university president Donna Shalala called “a painful and sad decision.” University trustees voted to make the move Tuesday.


    BIRMINGHAM — Both Sam Hunt and Joseph Webb will see action at quarterback in UAB’s season opener at Michigan State, and Webb will likely also start at wide receiver, coach Neil Callaway said.

    Callaway said Hunt, a senior, will likely start at quarterback Sept. 1, but Webb will be on the field for the first snap as a receiver. He said Webb, a sophomore, will also “play a lot of quarterback. We’re going to be interchangeable.”

    “We’ve got to have them both on the field,” he told The Birmingham News in a story Tuesday.

    The Associated Press

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  • Western Carolina
    at Alabama

    Sept. 1
    6 p.m.

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